Acupuncture in NOLA's two nationally certified acupuncturists draw upon three-year degrees in Oriental Medicine and good group vibes in their tranquil public-treatment centers. Both avid students of holistic healing, owner Tonya Tigart supplemented her Master's of Science with advanced acupuncture training at Heilongjiang University in Harbin, China, and partner Kathleen Keane boasts extensive massage-therapy experience in addition to her Master's of Science. Their aim is to help patients heal themselves via several holistic therapies, particularly acupuncture, which the World Health Organization recognizes can be effective in treating more than 50 ailments, including chronic pain, anxiety, and the nagging fear that the refrigerator door is on fire.
Tigart and Keane carefully attend to physical and psychological comfort, letting their acupuncture patients decide when their needles should come out, or if they should be dispatched entirely for thumb-based acupressure. Treatment can be administered in private or in a public space, where patients enjoy the fellowship of friends and other health-seekers as they relax on memory-foam recliners, sip tea, and defrost frozen wristwatches under heat lamps.
Yogi Michele Baker began teaching yoga at a New Orleans athletic club in 1998. Ten years later, after Hurricane Katrina forced Baker to evacuate her home, she started writing a yoga-instruction training manual. She soon put it to use, using it as a guide to lead her staff at Swan River Yoga, which she opened with business partner Keith Porteous. Today, the yoga center helps pupils practice yoga and guides aspiring instructors as they hone their craft and nurture the third eye that sprouts from their forehead.
Yoga classes are suitable for a variety of skill levels, and range from prenatal and beginners’ yoga to Anusara yoga—a class that focuses on flowing movements and proper alignment. Swan River Yoga also provides holistic services such as massage, reiki, and acupuncture.
Balance Yoga & Wellness hosts a multitude of classes seven days a week within its sunny studio. Impassioned, knowledgeable instructors teach students of all fitness levels to flow in and out of sun salutations and standing postures while maintaining strong breath. They also teach other classes, such as Anusara Level 1??which introduces poses and breathing techniques slowly over time??or the fluid vinyasa yoga, where one pose gracefully melts into another. Otherwise, students can soothe muscles with the restorative yoga class, which uses blankets, blocks, and straps to support the body so that it can stretch more deeply. Check out the schedule for a full list of class times.
TriYoga New Orleans offers small class sizes for all levels, with core-calming curriculum for neophytes and yoga masterminds alike. One-hour TriYoga classes ($15 each) guide students through yogic breathing exercises, postures, and hand gestures, with the instructor providing helpful, one-on-one feedback on how much more downward your dog could be facing. For students seeking alignment of both the spine and the soul, TriYoga New Orleans also offers Pilates classes ($15 each). The Pilates classes run 45 minutes each, with participants strengthening their cores, improving flexibility, and burning fat through muscle-molding poses and movements. Basic yoga and ballet workouts are incorporated into the Pilates regimen, allowing students to draw from several disciplines to better their bodies before the family's annual gator-wrestling retreat.
Yoga 108's staff of local yogis teaches Bikram yoga in a studio dedicated to this popular subset of Hatha yoga. During more than 30 weekly classes, students practice up to 26 unique asanas—or poses—in a toasty room whose heat is designed to benefit the body by increasing its strength, flexibility, and fly-swatting accuracy. Instructors continuously circle the room to give timely feedback and alter students' poses.
Yoga may be useful for building strength and flexibility, but Mia Oramous especially values its ability to help people discover the inner strength and focus that they need to overcome various life obstacles. She herself used it to lose the 50 pounds she gained after moving to New Orleans and participating in a "live to eat" lifestyle.
She founded Transform NOLA as a way to share her passion with the community, offering Vinyasa-style classes that use mindful breathing exercises as transitions between the gracefully flowing asana sequences. Her studio also helps clients better their lives through TRX suspension training classes, which strengthen clients' cores so they can finally make Sunday school teachers proud with their straight postures.